You are here: Home > Family History > Electoral Registers and Poll Books

Electoral Registers and Poll Books

Electoral Register entries

Some of our poll books for Parliamentary elections date from the seventeenth century, though most are later.  They give you little more than a name and the candidate that the voter supported.

Electoral registers began to be kept in 1832, and we have a complete set for all the Berkshire constitutencies from 1839 to the present day.  The early ones are arranged alphabetically by voter, whereas for the later ones you need an address to find someone.  This reflects the fact that the electoral register gives you only a name, an address and a date when the person was at that address.

Electoral Register entries

Electoral registers are not a complete record of the population. For many years, most adults could not vote. Only those with property above a certain value were allowed to choose MPs, and a number of people could vote more than once.

Gradually, electoral reform changed the way we vote, and also what information you will find in an electoral register. From 1884, more than half adult males had the vote, though it was only in 1918 that universal male suffrage was introduced. Votes for women arrived the same year, and the age of voting for both sexes was standardised at 21 in 1928, and then 18 in 1969. Multiple voting was finally abolished in 1949.

Please contact us to enquire about the electoral registers that we hold.


Related Content

Local property taxes

Related Links

Berkshire Family History SocietyCD versions of poll books and electoral registers available to buy

The Eureka PartnershipTranscripts of some poll books available to buy


Latest News
Survey of Visitors to UK Archives 2018
Survey takes place between 8th and 26th October
Stocktake and Christmas closure dates announced
Dates now available for when we will be closed this year
Distance Survey 2017 Results
BRO does very well in the latest survey of distance users
Visitor Survey 2016 Results
The results of the UK Visitor Survey 2016 are now available
We're Accredited!
The BRO is now an Accredited Archive Service
10,000th collection received at the BRO
The Berkshire Record Office celebrates receiving its 10,000th accession

Latest Galleries

Oscar Wilde and Reading Gaol

Oscar Wilde and Reading Gaol
Biographies of Wilde and Berkshire's Victorian prison

Small Objects of Power

Small Objects of Power
An Exhibition about Medieval Seals

Enemies of the State

Enemies of the State
Irish Patriots in Reading Gaol

The Berkshire Echo

The Berkshire Echo 84
July 2018: Coleshill House and Estate - Conserving Coleshill - New to the Arc...